Roddretta Waxton is head of children's services at the Lake County Public Library in Merrillville.
Q: What are some good ways to first get kids interested in reading?
A: Expose children to books early by reading to them. Here at the Lake County Public Library, we help parents and caregivers begin this journey by offering the Mother Goose on the Loose program. This is an interactive program for babies and toddlers, birth to 23 months of age, and their caregivers. The program helps promote speech development, motor coordination and social skills, three developmental skills that are essential to the reading process.
The use of board books is another good way to first get kids interested in reading. These books are designed to be manipulated by babies and toddlers. Alphabet blocks and picture blocks are good tools for parents and caregivers to use with babies and toddlers. Naming the letters and pictures during play is a perfect time to begin the pre-reading process.
Q: What types of resources/activities does the library offer specifically for children and parents?
A: Books, magazines, books on CD, and databases—specifically BookFlix, where children can watch a story, read a story and learn. In addition to material resources, we offer story times for 2- and 3-year-olds and 4- and 5-year-olds. We also offer programs for school-agers and their families.
Q: How can parents encourage an older child to read for enjoyment?
A: Parents can encourage their older child by reading for enjoyment themselves. Children tend to emulate their parents. Allow children to read books that are of interest to them in addition to books that they are required to read for school. I even encourage parents and their children to read the same books. This will not only help the parents to know what interests their children, but may facilitate a family book discussion.